Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that Istanbul is still Turkey’s coronavirus hotspot, with 53.74 percent of all of the country’s cases. In the last week on the other hand, the metropolis registered 51.16 percent of all cases, Koca said during a press conference on July 1, after chairing a meeting of the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Science Committee.
Earlier in June, Koca had said that Istanbul accounted for 60 percent of the total coronavirus cases in the country.
The minister’s comments came as Turkey identified more than 200,000 coronavirus cases with 1,192 new cases diagnosed in the previous 24 hours.
The Health Ministry data showed more than 87 percent of the cases have recovered. The death toll in the country from the respiratory disease reached 5,150, according to the data.
“In the last week, the increase in Ankara, Gaziantep, Bursa, Konya and Diyarbakır is standing out. The provinces that have registered the lowest number of cases per population during the pandemic are Gümüşhane, Tunceli, Kars, Burdur and Bartın,” Koca said.
The minister also mentioned five provinces that have shown a considerable decrease in the number of virus cases. The number of cases in Tekirdağ has decreased by 31.35% in the last two weeks, whereas Balıkesir, Samsun, Kırşehir and Düzce respectively registered a decrease of 21.72%, 20.42%, 20.27% and 19.91%. “No case has been registered in Gümüşhane in the last two weeks,” Koca said.
Coronavirus most common in 25-45 age group, says minister
Koca has said that there has been a decreasing trend in the average age of COVID-19 cases over the last month, with most cases occurring between the ages of 25 and 45.
“People aged 25-45 have the most COVID-19 cases [out of any age group nationwide]. Recovering from the disease easily cannot be an excuse [to flout the measures]. This way the person is spreading the virus to their closed ones, mothers, fathers,” Koca said.
“We have previously succeeded in protecting our elders by isolating them at home. They have supported us by complying with the rules patiently and firmly. But today, they are under more risk than yesterday,” Koca said.
Turkey’s residents aged 65 and over were under strict curfew during the period of March 21-June 9.
On June 9, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that senior citizens would be allowed to leave their homes between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. every day as the country initiated a “normalization” period.
Restrictions on movement of elderly people not to be fully lifted
Asked if the government is considering further easing the partial curfew imposed on senior citizens, Koca said: “The [Coronavirus] Science Committee is of the opinion that restrictions should continue.”
The Turkish government takes its decisions concerning virus measures in line with the recommendations brought forward by the Coronavirus Science Committee.
Koca once again warned the public against the claims that the virus had weakened and that its spread had slowed. The minister said that such claims were misleading and lacked scientific evidence.
“Unless we have to, we should stay away from big ceremonies and celebrations. The pandemic has affected our society in a dramatic way. Our psychology has been limited to the agenda of the disease. The change and isolation in daily lives has increased the tension in our psychological life,” he said.
Course of pandemic to determine if schools will be reopened in fall, says minister
The minister was also asked if schools will reopen at the end of August, as was previously announced. “There is still time for schools’ opening. This issue was not raised in the [Coronavirus] Science Committee. This issue would be determined by the course of the pandemic.”
Koca said that the Coronavirus Science Committee will discuss this issue once the time for the schools’ reopening nears. “We know anyway that they [Education Ministry officials] are undertaking preparation in terms of conducting lessons in digital platform just in case,” he said.